A few weeks ago I got the book Cleaning House from the digital online library. I had no idea what to expect with this book, but about half way through I knew I had to share it with all of my mom friends!
Side note, if you are a book lover and not using your local libraries online options then you really need to. For one it’s so fast. If you finish a book you can download another ebook or audio book right then and there. Two, you don’t have to bring the kids with you while you look for your next book. Three, I like all types of reading material but audio is my favorite because I can listen to it on the road or folding clothes. Four, your online account customizes your experience. It’s like Netflix as far as making recommendations based on what you read or what other people are reading.
That’s how I found the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12 month experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wyma. The author has 5 kids and most of them are at least close to the teenage years. The book is about her battle against the entitlement and codependence that is rampant in her home. She decides to have her kids tackle a new responsibility each month to teach them necessary life skills and give them meaningful work. The projects are things like laundry, cooking, yard work, and hospitality.
I love the idea that when you allow kids to have more responsibility in the home you empower them and encourage a confidence that goes deeper than words. Many parents, myself included, often want to help our kids out of the best of intentions. Whether it is because we don’t want to see them fail or struggle, or on a practical note we know we can do it better and faster. However, if you are always bailing your child out when it’s tough (like homework, carrying things, and making lunch are just a few that come to my mind) you are sending a message that they can’t do it. Another great quote from the author-
“Loving them by making them work puts energy behind my claim to believe in the kids. The assurance that you can do anything you put your mind to has greater meaning now that I’ve gotten out of the way.”
I read a post recently by Amanda of Airman 2 Mom. She got a new van recently that has keyless entry and locks automatically when you walk away from the van with the key in your pocket and it unlocks as you approach the van. Amanda says the problem is that she likes to double check to make sure it’s locked so she goes back to grab the handle, but by doing so the door automatically unlocks. Do you see the dilemma? She can’t check the lock because she is inadvertently unlocking the door. She has to walk away and trust that the remote worked.
Amanda compares this to not trusting your kids. When you hover, and doubt, or refuse to let go you undo that independance that they were practice. Sometimes you have to trust that the door is locked or that your child can handle themselves and then walk away. I thought that was such a great analogy. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever check on your kids. She does a great job explaining the scenario, you should read the whole post.
That’s what cleaning house is about. The goal of parenting is not to provide a successful childhood, but to grow your child into an idependant adult. You eventually have to get out of the way.
I am so glad that this Kay Wyma book fell in my lap because I personally gleaned so much from it will need to reread it later down the road (although for the record the concepts can apply to ages 5 and up in my opinion). I never thought I would say it but I, The MESSY Mom, love “Cleaning House”.